There is an emerging crop of young defenseman around the NHL that has been really exciting to watch develop over the past couple of seasons. It’s a group that features the likes of Michael Del Zotto and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who have each seen plenty of love over the past several months.
One player who hasn’t received the praise that some of those around him have has been Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson. Yet, of all of these young defensemen, Carlson may be the one guy who may be the most important to his team at this exact moment.
It’s hard to believe that Carlson is already in his fourth year in the league. He played 22 games in 2009-2010 as a 19-year-old, and is still just 23. He’s quietly become a mainstay for the Capitals, and has no. 1 d-man written all over him.
Carlson has put up decent numbers on the Washington blue line over the course of the past couple of seasons. He’s put up 37 and 32 points in the past two years respectively, with a career high nine goals in 2011-2012. He’s a guy who could win a Norris with a bit of an increase in his point totals. His skill set is that good.
He’s not going to play an extremely physical game, despite a sizable 6’2″ frame, but he’s rock solid on his own zone. He’s going to make the right decisions in his own end as far as the puck is concerned. On the attack, he has the stickhandling ability to keep up with the rush and help the offense to be effective.
He’s an intelligent kid and a great character in the locker room. With a team like the Caps, who has some questionable characters to say the least, his presence is definitely a welcome one.
It’s been a pleasure to watch John Carlson grow in his brief time in the league. It should only be a matter of time before we’re talking about this kid among the league’s elite blue liners.